Council ignored flood advice; 900 properties at risk

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Hundreds of flood-prone properties in Ballarat have not been identified with flood overlays more than a decade after alarms were raised.

A 2002 Corangamite CMA floodplain strategy revealed more than 900 properties would be affected by a major flood in Ballarat and called for overlays to be written into the Ballarat Planning Scheme by January 2004.

But the City of Ballarat never added them.

“The Yarrowee River, Gnarr Creek and Canadian Creek through Ballarat are of major concern due to the restriction of their effective flow area by channelisation and building development ...,” the report states.

“As a result, over 900 properties would be affected by flooding from a major flood event in Ballarat.”

The intent to include flood zones in the planning scheme was added to the council’s Municipal Strategic Statement in 2006.

This month, the council voted to incorporate the Glenelg Hopkins CMA’s Burrumbeet Flood Investigation into its planning scheme, paving the way for 178 properties to be placed under ‘floodway’ or ‘land subject to inundation’ overlays and exposed to controls designed to minimise flood risk to life and property. But most of Ballarat still falls under the Corangamite CMA catchment and there are no flood overlays in place for properties within it.

City of Ballarat city strategy general manager Natalie Reiter said flood studies prepared in the 2002 era required significant work between the council and catchment management authorities to progress them to planning scheme amendment status.

“A combination of actual rain events and advanced technology in flood study methodology resulted in the Burrumbeet study within the Glenelg Hopkins CMA progressing ahead of the CCMA work,” she said.

“Council is currently carrying out a flood study for the Canadian Creek Tributaries area (Canadian and Ballarat East), with informal public consultation likely to take place in the next two months.”

Ms Reiter said the study would be written into the planning scheme, with extensive community consultation through the process.

“... as funding and resourcing allows, this will be followed by other areas in the Corangamite CMA catchment,” she said.

Several major historic floods have been recorded in Ballarat, including serious flash flood affecting the central business district in 1991.

A Victorian Flood Database shows parts of the Bridge Mall, Redan, Ballarat Central and Bakery Hill as susceptible to a one in 100 year flood.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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